Seeking Buried Treasure

Business treasure chestHistory and myth abound on the many buried treasures to be found deep in the seas of the planet. If you knew you were on a course that would take you close to where treasure is supposedly buried, would you try to find it? You probably would not because you have a mission to fulfill. But I would encourage you to pursue it because it could be the key to future fortune.

The buried treasure I suggest entrepreneurs seek is their own “buried” personal assets, and apply them to their business. Not only do I offer ways to identify skills, passions, talents and personality, I offer techniques to uncover qualities that may have been put under wraps because they weren’t acceptable, weren’t good enough or they wouldn’t provide a livelihood. The reward of recovering and putting our buried treasure to good use is life becomes much more fun and success comes with minimal struggle.

The first step is to recognize and assess our personal assets. Some of these are easy to find, but most of us have assets we’ve long forgotten. These are the “buried treasures” that will pop to the surface with a little prodding. Directed prodding is what I do. The problem with not retrieving these treasures is they will rear up their wayward heads somewhere down the road to stop us from having what we want. We must not only identify, we must claim and honor our assets or they will haunt us until we do.

The approach I take is designed to clear away old cobwebs before trying to move forward. Most of us have behaviors that were developed in childhood because they produced an acceptable result out of a state of chaos. Unfortunately, these are defense mechanisms – reactive, not proactive. They don’t serve us very well in realizing success and happiness. While not delving into analysis, I do suggest revisiting your childhood from both a negative and positive perspective. Who we really are can often be seen clearer if we reflect on early passions, desires and dreams.

Identifying

Identifying all our assets means knowing who we are, who we aren’t, who we’ve tried to be and failed and who we’d like to become –and why. Because the socialization process puts early restrictions on our personal natures, our strongest assets often get pushed aside and eventually buried deep inside. Sadly, this can set off a series of self-sabotaging behaviors because we’re not happy doing what we’re doing. I know this because I’ve done it to myself. In the early ‘90s I held a respected senior management position in a health care center, but because I hated it so much and couldn’t find my way out, I sabotaged myself by underperforming. That’s bad news, especially in times of downsizing.

I struggled for a while, glad to be free, but not clear about what to do. In seeking my way, I put myself through a self-assessment that wasn’t as refined as what I do now with clients but it was extremely helpful in reaching a clear decision about the road ahead.

It included what’s known as 360 degree feedback. I asked those who knew me well (including family members) what they saw as my strengths and weaknesses. I read about other recall techniques that helped bring to the forefront long forgotten memories of excitement, pleasure and satisfaction. I still use some of these techniques now and find them exceptionally effective in helping clients identify key assets they might not ever see on their own. I learned that identifying, claiming and honoring these assets can make all the difference in the world in how successfully we travel down our chosen path.

Claiming

Identifying our personal assets (along with recovering our buried treasure) is step #1. Claiming is step #2. Claiming means we consciously acknowledge all our assets.  We look at the value of each to ourselves, to our personal universe and our target market. Guided brainstorming helps to select and prioritize each asset. We may have assets we’ve previously thought of as barriers, but when evaluated in a new context they may be recast in leading or supporting roles.

I have a client who spent her early adult years traveling the world and hadn’t stayed with any one job or field in spite of having a good education in a highly employable profession. The truth is she didn’t want to be in that profession, but wasn’t encouraged to find out where she did want to be. She saw her gypsy behavior as a negative, but upon reassessment found she could call upon those experiences in developing a travel niche that creates vacations for people based on the experience they desire.

As a result of my personal assessments and soul searching with my own coach, I found that I’m a natural coach. Without realizing it I had been coaching family, friends and colleagues for years in both career and personal matters. They had often sought my advice and guidance. That’s a pretty clear indication a natural talent exists. I hadn’t realized I had this quality even though I had been using it for years. It took an objective outsider to help me “see” who I am. Only then could I claim it.

Honoring

Closeup of Treasure Chest with treasureWhen we put our innate assets to their best and highest use, we are honoring them. The process of honoring includes prioritizing each major asset and deciding how we’re going to use it in achieving our goals. It’s not possible to incorporate all to the maximum. The challenge comes in putting them together to our greatest personal and professional benefit.

A client who had always wanted to be an entrepreneur had tried unsuccessfully on two previous occasions. In taking the sequential steps of personal branding, he confirmed that his attitude, demeanor, personality and drive spelled entrepreneur. He was trained as an architect, but construction was his real forte. His task became restructuring his asset base to that format. Today he’s building a business in construction management and already in need of help to meet the demand for his services.

One of my clients has created a spiritual coaching program called Living Out Loud. Her work is about helping people connect with that inner spark at the core. It’s where our real treasure is buried. When allowed to shine, that spark will light our way as we travel on life’s journey.

It’s never too soon or too late to begin the process. The deciding factor is your commitment to making the most of who you are by identifying, claiming and honoring your personal treasures. If you choose to give it a try, look for the rise in energy level you feel as you think about or undertake any activity. Make note of these. Perform the 360 degree assessment and go through the steps described above. Then complete the foundation by integrating your personal treasures into your business and your daily life.

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If you’d like my expert guidance in identifying, claiming and honoring your buried treasure, drop me a note and we’ll get to it right away. I promise it will make a huge difference in the success of your business and you’ll find greater joy in everything you do.

Help! I Want to Dissolve my Partnership

A client, we’ll call her Susan, had a business that was struggling financially and operationally. She was totally disgusted because her partner of 10 years was no longer carrying his weight and didn’t seem to understand the gravity of the situation. She was so stressed she was seriously considering liquidating the business if things couldn’t be changed for the better in a very short time.

What to do? Her first commitment had to be to herself. Susan was able to realize that it was up to her to take command of this situation. She was coached to create some measurable goals with time frames. She decided she wanted to give the business and her partner one last chance. Susan knew she must bring her partner, and eventually her staff, into the picture in order to get their buy-in.

She created Job Roles for herself, her partner and each of her staff (Office Manager, Buyer and 2 Salesmen). Because of the longstanding relationship between her and her partner, we agreed it was best if I met with the partner and her to present things up to this point. Preparing for this was anxiety-producing for Susan, but also liberating. NOTE: Using a third party (like a coach or consultant) can offer a different perspective to a known problem. [Read more…]

7 Strategies to Recession-Proof Your Business

We don’t yet have confirmation that we’re in a recession, but the media are certainly leading us to believe it’s imminent. I’ve spoken with a number of small businesses who are already starting to feel a slowdown.

That tells me every small business needs to take a hard look at the status of their business to make sure it can withstand a downturn. The secret is to have your Plan address spots where you may be vulnerable. Prevention now definitely beats fixing things after they become difficult to turn around.

Following are top strategies for weathering a downturn. They are actually good business practices in any economy.

1. Get your house in order.
Start by solving as many problems as possible n0w. Unresolved problems hurt even more in difficult times. Get your cash under control. Choose strategies that conserve and manage it. If you need help, get it ASAP. [Read more…]

Planning: The Roadmap to Success

Think of a plan as a map. It’s meant to be a guide. The planning process helps us focus on the “how” of what we want to accomplish. It organizes our thinking, identifies the steps and gives us tools to monitor how we’re doing.

Those who create and write plans have a much better chance of success, yet so many people don’t follow through. Why not? We may think there’s little value in spending the time to create a plan. Also, it’s unfamiliar territory and we’re not sure what we need to do. We may carry the plan in our head, but it’s always in an abstract state. We want to take it from the abstract to the next stage of realization – putting it in writing.

Let’s assume you have taken the steps that lead you to the point of needing a plan.
After you’ve decided what you’re going to do (goals) and how you’re going to do it (strategy), you’ll need to decide the specific actions that will fulfill your strategy and lead you to your goals.

How do you know what actions to take? Keeping in mind your goals and strategy, together with the business intelligence you’ve gathered and evaluated, brainstorm a number of possible actions. You might review these with key staff and advisors; then select those that seem to have the most potential to produce desired results. At this point it might be a good idea to discuss your plans with the people who would be involved in carrying out the actions. This could save you money, time and unproductive actions. [Read more…]

How Do I Find the Right Business Partner?

Having a partner presents a complex mix of interpersonal and business issues, and both need to be addressed for it to work.

If your primary interest is having someone to brainstorm with and to help your business move forward, there may be other options besides a partner. A consultant or coach may be able to fill that role. In that case you’d have the benefit of an objective dedicated mind but would still make the final decisions.

Likewise, if additional capital is needed now, there may be alternatives to giving away your hard-earned equity. Debt is usually preferable to equity unless the partner can add significant value to your business. If an equity partner can open a sizable new market, take on critical responsibility or provide access to valuable resources, it may be worth serious consideration.

Base your decision to have a partner on sound logic and reasoning. Be careful of just wanting to dump responsibility on anyone who will agree.

The purpose of the partnership should be clear in your own mind first. Then you’re ready to determine the qualities and assets a potential partner would bring. A partnership is usually a long term arrangement, so think long and hard as to whether or not you’re ready for that level of commitment. [Read more…]

Are You Operating From: IF or WHEN?

“The more clear and definite you make your picture, and the more you dwell upon it, bringing out all its delightful details, the stronger your desire will be. And the stronger your desire, the easier it will be to hold your mind fixed upon the picture of what you want.”
Wallace D. Wattles, The Science of Getting Rich (first published in 1910)

IF or WHEN? Two little words that mean so much. IF implies an uncertainty as to whether or not something will happen. WHEN implies it will definitely happen, it’s just a matter of timing.

When we’re operating in IF, we’re not committed. We’re still questioning, “can I reach my goal?” There’s no forward movement and it may actually feel like we’re going around in circles.

When we’re operating in WHEN we’ve made the decision to reach our goal. It’s just a matter of WHEN. We may not know exactly how we’ll get what we want, but the fact of having made the decision removes any doubt that it will happen. The “how” will come much easier because all future decisions will be taking us in the direction of our goal. [Read more…]

Business Reinvention: A Surprising Case Study

Business reinvention can happen for economic reasons, or to take advantage of new technology, or to reposition the business in the market. It can also happen organically, from life changes, as it did for Genece Hamby, a former packaging and branding specialist who reinvented her business as a digital artist and poet with a branded line of art and gift products.

I share Genece’s story with you because I think you’ll be inspired and encouraged as you consider the reinvention of your own business. Her story is a prime example of how life circumstances, when seeming to be negative, can actually help us to find and use inherent strengths and passions we can apply to our business.

Genece began her career in sales and technology, which later evolved into package and conceptual design. Using what she had learned about “branding” in her 30 year career, she became one of three initiators in the world of the “personal branding” concept in 2001.

Personal Branding DNA (what is Distinct, Notable and Authentic about you) was a 12 week intensive personal branding program focused on building a solid individual brand from the inside out. Genece enjoyed contributing to the development and success of her clients and individuals certified in her methodology throughout the world (Australia still remains a leader in Personal Branding DNA). Although her business seemed a success, her personal life was undergoing some critical changes that would cause her to reinvent her business in a surprising way. [Read more…]

Five Simple Steps to a Thriving Business

Sometimes I think we make having a thriving business much more difficult than it needs to be. I’ve found the sec.ret is to step back from your business and look at the process in its simplest f0rm. As I see it there are five simple steps to attracting, selling and keeping customers or clients. Get these working for you and building a thriving business will become much easier.

Step 1 – Connect

Once you determine who is most likely to value your product or service, you must connect with those people. It’s critical to identify your niche and have all your materials reinforcing the message to your target market. Find out where you’re most likely to reach these people and what will motivate their interest.

Then reach out using a strategy that will take advantage of networking, online and offline marketing, unfulfilled market needs, and the strengths you bring to the business.

Step 2 – Follow up

We know it’s important to follow up with new connections wherever they come from. The problem is [Read more…]

Six Steps to Fiscal Fitness

Having a business that’s operating on sound business principles is absolutely essential if you expect to build a thriving business. One of the key elements of a strong foundation is fiscal fitness. A business that tries to grow without a strong foundation is heading for disaster. If your business isn’t “fiscally fit” – you might eventually find yourself dealing with that other “f” word – “failure”.

We all know the value of physical fitness. Well, the same principles apply to fiscal fitness. As with physical fitness, it’s good to start with some measurable goals; then create and act on a plan to achieve them.

Being able to meet expenses when due, without borrowing, is a measurable goal worthy of your efforts. The key to meeting this goal is effectively managing cash flow. That probably means pumping up income and slimming down expenses. You need to know the measurements that are meaningful to your business and then weigh in on a regular basis to see how you’re doing.

Here are the six steps I recommend to achieve fiscal fitness for your business. [Read more…]